Friday, 25 September 2009

A Walk On The Wild Side

Private group - walking trips in scenic Scotland - an exciting and dynamic country with more accessible wilderness areas than practically any other European country, making it a perfect destination for walking and hiking holidays.

Scotland’s landscape is steeped in natural and cultural history and our Private Group Walking Holidays offer a diverse range of walking experiences which showcase the finest of scenery. Your clients can enjoy anything from an exploration of the wild and prehistoric landscapes of the Orkney Isles, to a coastal walk which highlights Cape Wrath’s contrasting scenery of pristine beaches and iconic peaks, or an ambient hike amongst the ancient Caledonian pine forests in Glen Affric.

We offer a highly personalised service with complete flexibility where clients can choose from day walks to a week long expedition - our walking itineraries are exactly tailored to your clients needs. Nothing is too much trouble and you can be safe in the knowledge that our guides are the very best in Scotland. Coupled with our renowned Highland hospitality our Private Walking trips will leave your clients with an inspiring and satisfying experience, and the desire to enjoy more Wilderness Scotland adventures.

To take advantage of choosing the right date and the preferred accommodation, please book this Autumn/Winter time for next year. We offer excellent commission rates to all tour operators who refer a booking.

Wilderness Scotland - Europe’s leading adventure company (National Geographic Adventure Magazine)
www.wildernessscotland.com
or tel: 0131 625 6635.

Truly unique tastings


THE SCOTCH MALT WHISKY SOCIETY

Unique Whisky Tasting Experiences: The Unusual Suspects. The Society’s latest collection of private whisky tasting experiences are truly one-of-a-kind.

Each has its own individual personality, whether it’s passionately seductive, internationally eclectic, shamelessly indulgent or unanimously triumphant. These partners in crime all have their own unique guilty pleasure.

The Society offers unrivalled single cask, single malt whisky tasting experiences at each of their three striking venues in Edinburgh, Leith and London. Or, if you have your own place in mind, they’ll take their Unusual Suspects out on the run. Anywhere in the world, the choice is entirely yours.

There’s something to suit all tastes, with the collection of whisky tastings including: ‘Introduction to Single Cask Whisky’, ‘International Society Spirits’, ‘The Panel’s Unanimous Choice’, ‘Love is Blind’ and ‘Whisky and Chocolate Workshop’.

Or if you would like something more bespoke, the Society will put you in touch with your personal Whisky Ambassador who will help create your very own whisky tasting experience.

www.smws.co.uk/tasting-and-venues

Come fly with us

The Scottish Seabird Centre is a multi award-winning five star wildlife visitor attraction overlooking the sea and sandy beaches of North Berwick. There is a Discovery Centre, Gift Shop and Licensed Café with open decking over the sea.

Visitors enjoy a close encounter with nature – thousands of spectacular seabirds and marine wildlife including puffins, gannets and seals and the occasional dolphins and whales. The Centre features an exciting Discovery Centre with giant screens and live remote control cameras, Wildlife Cinema, daily fish feeding, wildlife talks and walks, events and exhibitions.

New this year are daily boat trips to the islands on two rigid inflatable boats – which gives visitors an exhilarating boat trip, with excellent commentary from our experienced wildlife guides. The Seabird Centre is delighted to welcome groups and
can offer teas, coffees and home baking, lunches and high teas, with food cooked on the premises, using fresh local produce. It also offers complimentary lunch/refreshments for drivers.

An all weather attraction, the Centre is open all year. There is easy access from the A1 and a drop off point close to the Centre with free off site coach parking There is full disabled access and baby changing facilities.

Group rates are £6.50 (adults) and £4.95 (concessions).
North Berwick is an attractive seaside town with blue flag beaches and individual shops, cafes and restaurants.
For further information visit www.seabird.org
or call 01620 890202.

Bigger network, better rates!

Fitzcharles Coaches are proud to announce that we are now members of The Edinburgh Convention Bureau, which opens up a whole network of hotels, visitor attractions at very competitive corporate rates.

Fitzcharles Coaches are now offering special Winter rates for private hire throughout Scotland, with some very special fully inclusive package deals, please check out our groups dedicated website. As well as operating our own package holidays, we also offer coach trips to the famous Glasgow SECC, who have excelled themselves this year with a record number of top performing concerts, and trade shows, in fact come and see us at The Retirement Show or the Travel and Holiday Show, where we will have our own vehicles to view at these public shows this Winter.

Despite all the negative recession stories in the press, Fitzcharles Coaches has enjoyed a very busy Summer, with a record number of international visitors visiting us this year we pride ourselves in receiving record satisfactory reports about all our services this year, yet still managing to find new ways to improve our services even further.

Our tour support staff have also had a successful year finding new and very unusual destinations, hotels with a difference, with 2009 focused on the numerous garden focused events, but for 2010, you will need to keep an eye on our web site.

Ronnie, Olive, David and all our experienced, professional staff look forward to assisting you in the near future.
To find out more please telephone +44(0)1324 482093
or visit www.fitzcharles.co.uk

Experience a taste of High Society

With the National Trust for Scotland

New and exclusive Living History Tours of the National Trust for Scotland’s 4-Star Georgian House in Edinburgh are now available from Scotland’s leading conservation charity’s Travel Trade department.

Guided by the Lady or Gentleman of the House attired in traditional costume, visitors will experience the life of a wealthy 18th-century merchant’s family. As they are escorted round Edinburgh’s only authentically furnished New Town house, visitors will listen to stories and be mesmerised by the opulence and splendour of their host’s exquisite collections of china, silver, paintings and furniture, before going ‘below stairs’ to experience the contrasting life of the cooks, maids and household staff who made this elegant lifestyle possible.

Dating from 1796 and located in Charlotte Square, in the heart of Edinburgh’s famous World Heritage Site, the Georgian House forms part of Robert Adam’s masterpiece of urban design. Within easy access of Princes Street and the Royal Mile, a visit to the Georgian House is perfect as part of a memorable day out in Scotland’s capital.

These unique and personalised tours are currently available at a special introductory group rate of £70 (including VAT) for groups of up to 10 guests. Tours last approximately 1hour; pre-booking is essential.

For all bookings and enquiries email the National Trust for Scotland at traveltrade@nts.org.uk or telephone 0844 493 2104 (+44 131 243 9304 from outside the UK).

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

160 days and counting

Homecoming Scotland 2009 the Scottish Government initiative managed by EventScotland in partnership with VisitScotland has proved to be achieving its aims. A recent report shows that most European city destinations have registered a drop in occupancy rates, while Edinburgh has shown a rise.

This celebration of Scotland has attracted visitors from around the world, particularly from countries with large Scots diaspora populations, such as Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand and other parts of the UK. However, the continuing celebrations are not only for people with links to Scotland; they are for anyone who simply loves Scotland.

The overall objective of Homecoming is to deliver £40m of additional tourism revenue to the country, with just over 6 months to go it looks set to achieving this aim.

New for 2009 - Extremis: drop ride to doom

Feel the adrenaline pump and your heart pound as Edinburgh Dungeon unveils the city’s first ever drop ride - Extremis: Drop Ride to Doom

Based on the ghastly historic hangings that took place at Edinburgh’s Grassmarket during the 17th and 18th centuries, the three story ride will plunge visitors into oblivion within a second flat – in pitch darkness.

Plummeting down that fast in the dark leaves your stomach above your head, your heart pounding and your blood buzzing long after you’ve braved the drop.

With the Edinburgh Dungeon already host to a damp, chilling boat ride, the installation of Extremis signifies a major investment into the Dungeon, which now boasts two rides as part of its fearsome dark tour of Edinburgh’s darkest, most horrible history.

The investment sees the Edinburgh landmark cement its place as one of the most ambitious tourist attractions in the Scottish capital and a great addition to any city break or group touring programme.

Extremis will provide a perfectly horrific addition to the actor led shows and interactive features the Dungeon is infamous for.

Discounted rates are available for groups of 10+ along with the added benefits of priority entrance, a free place and free familiarisation visit for the group leader.

Adult (16yrs +) - £9.95
Child (6-15yrs) - £6.95
Concession - £8.95

To book your group visit please call 0871 663 1672 or visit www.groupfundays.co.uk for more information.

For details on preferred trade rates and terms please contact debbie.fisher@merlinentertainments.biz

2010 prices fixed at 2009 rates

The National Trust for Scotland has just announced that it is holding its advertised 2009 travel trade prices until 31 December 2010.

This means that the Trust’s already excellent value-for-money Group Rates and flexible, multi-day Discover Tickets and are now even more attractive, saving coach and tour operators, and their clients, up to 78%* on standard admission prices.

Their new 3-, 7- and 14-day Discover Tickets also offer greater opportunities to visit more National Trust for Scotland properties than ever before. With the addition of Burns National Heritage Park this means even better value-for-money at no extra cost!

Discover Tickets:
· attract a 20% commission on all sales
· are sold exclusively to the travel trade
· are issued on a sale or return basis
· allow unrestricted access to all National Trust for Scotland attractions
· retail from £20.00 per person

· 3-day tickets are valid 3 days out of 7 consecutive days
· 7-day tickets are valid 7 days out of 14 consecutive days
· 14-day tickets are valid 14 days out of 30 consecutive days

The National Trust for Scotland offers a wealth of 4 star and 5 star visitor attractions including world-famous gardens, battlefields, industrial heritage, castles, palaces, mansionhouses, collections and interiors. Many venues also offer excellent coach parking, catering facilities and exclusive gift shops.

For all bookings and enquiries, email the National Trust for Scotland at traveltrade@nts.org.uk, telephone 0844 493 2104 (+44 131 243 9304 from outside the UK), or visit www.nts.org.uk/TravelTrade

* 78% saving based on 14-day adult Discover Ticket.
The Loch Lomond Aquarium SEA LIFE centre is situated on the southern tip of Loch Lomond on the Loch Lomond Shores development, just 20 miles from Glasgow.

This magical attraction takes visitors on a journey from highland stream, via the depths of the loch, to the North Sea and onward to the Carribean. It houses a trio of otters, countless freshwater and native marine species and ends with a voyage under the sea through the ocean tank teeming with colourful reef and tropical sharks. The centre is in fact home to the largest selection of sharks in Scotland, with a new pair of Bonnethead sharks having arrived in 2009.

With breathtaking views from the Loch View coffee shop, discounted group rates from as little as £4.50*, discounted food and beverage deals, free leader places and free talks and demonstrations, the Loch Lomond Aquarium is a great place for groups to visit at any time of the year.
To book your group visit please call 0871 222 6935 or visit www.groupfundays.co.uk for more information.

For preferential trade rates and terms please email: debbie.fisher@merlinentertainments.biz
*to qualify for group rates, a minimum of 10 people applies. Adults: £6.50. Seniors: £5.50, Children: £4.50

Address: Loch Lomond Shores, Ben Lomond Way, Balloch, G83 8QL
Website: www.sealife.co.uk
Site contact: Emma McDougal
Tel : 01389 721500
Email: emma.mcdougal@merlinentertainments.biz

2 great theatres, 2009 highlights

Summer and Autumn highlights at Glasgow’s King’ Theatre and the Theatre Royal

For anyone planning a holiday or a long weekend to the city a visit to Glasgow would not be complete without a trip to either The King’s or Theatre Royal.


King’s season highlights include the comedy Stepping Out (15-19 Sept), starring Jesse Wallace (Eastenders) and Brian Capron (Coronation Street). The comedy continues with Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies (22 – 26 Sept). Reprising their roles from the original series are Shobna Gulati and Andrew Dunn. Richard O’Brien opens his brand new show, The Stripper (29 Sept – 3 Oct), a new musical brought to the stage by same team who created the Rocky Horror phenomenon. And the children’s classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang glides in from 20 Oct – 14 Nov.

Over at the Theatre Royal we welcome for one night only Ms Elkie Brooks (13 Aug). For our younger audience we have the Tweenies Live (31 July - 2 Aug) and family favourite Annie (4 – 8 Aug) starring the irrepressible Su Pollard! Enjoy comedy? Why not pop along for night with Bill Bailey, one of the finest comedians the country has to offer (17 – 22 Aug). For dance check out Dorian Gray (29 Sep – 3 Oct) the massive sell out at the Edinburgh Festival in 2008. This sexy and slick production by choreographer Matthew Bourne is a truly seductive event.


This really is a taster of what’s on offer. To find out details of the entire season log on to www.ambassadortickets.som/glasgow

Scotland - golf heaven

There are more golf courses per head of population in Scotland than almost anywhere else on Earth.....featuring some of the world’s most famous golfing challenges, including the Old Course in St. Andrews, the Old Course at Royal Troon, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and the Ailsa Course at Turnberry, host to The Open Championship in 2009.

However, Scotland has much more to offer visiting golfers, with some of the finest hidden gems to meet your required course standard and budget, ranging from Southerness in the south to the amazing 9 hole course at Durness in the far north; from Machrihanish in the west to Montrose on the east coast. Experience the superb new course at Castle Stuart.


At Thistle Golf we pride ourselves in our knowledge of the finest golfing venues in Scotland, together with the best places to stay throughout our beautiful country.....the interesting places to visit, and the great restaurants and pubs to enjoy.



If you fancy a trip to Scotland to savour the delights of playing golf, as well as enjoying the magnificent scenery and perhaps partaking of a wee dram too.....we’ll be delighted to assist you in making all your arrangements, from your group’s arrival here until departure.


To request a free quotation, contact us on +44 (0)141 942 4043 or visit our website at www.thistlegolf.co.uk . Thistle Golf......large enough to cope, small enough to care!

Monks, Mines & Museums

The Scottish Mining Museum and Newbattle Abbey in Midlothian have joined forces to tailor a fantastic full day tour aimed specifically at the groups market. Your journey into the past begins with a visit to enigmatic Newbattle Abbey College where Cistercian monks mined possibly the first coal in Scotland in the 12th century. Here, visitors will learn about the Abbey’s many links to Scotland’s past including the Declaration of Arbroath, Mary Queen of Scots, the Knights Templar and how the development of this ancient house came to be responsible for the Lady Victoria pit which is now the Scottish Mining Museum.

Following lunch at the Abbey, the tour resumes at the Scottish Mining Museum, housed in the wonderfully restored Lady Victoria Colliery. Opened in the 1890s the “Lady Vic” became renowned as one of the first Scottish 'super pits' and a showpiece for the industry. Today the A-listed complex is recognised as one of the finest surviving examples of a Victorian colliery in Europe, and is home to the extensive collections of the Scottish Mining Museum. Now a five star visitor attraction, the museum tells the story of coal for Scotland through two floors of exhibitions - A Race Apart and The Story of Coal - Magic Helmet tour, recreated underground roadway and coalface, the largest winding engine in Scotland and the Big Stuff – Massive Mining Machinery tour.

For further information or to make a booking please contact Rae McGhee (Newbattle Abbey) on 0131 663 1921 or Gillian Rankin (Scottish Mining Museum) on 0131 663 7519.

When I’m 64...

Fitzcharles Coaches now in it’s 64th year, family owned, managed by the third /fourth generations of our family, which our grandparents started, still going strong, which is quite an achievement in this day and age.

Why are we still going strong? Perhaps it’s because we give a personal service, lost by large companies. Perhaps it’s because when you travel on a Fitzcharles coach tour, it will be a Fitzcharles coach that will do the tour. Perhaps it’s because when you travel with us, one driver per tour, and he is your friend from start to finish. Perhaps it’s because most entrance fees to places of interest and travel insurance are included, which allows you to budget your spending money. Perhaps it’s because all our coaches are ours and are air conditioned with toilets. Perhaps it’s because we are fully bonded for your financial security.

Whatever your group interests, we will work hard to ensure we offer you new and exciting itineraries with great excursions included. We have worked with many individual hotels as well as hotel groups over the years and can offer very competitive prices as well as often added value items such as welcome drinks, speciality dinners, etc.

Ronnie, Olive, and all our experienced, professional staff look forward to assisting you in the near future.

To find out more please telephone ++44(0)1324 482093 or visit www.fitzcharles.co.uk.

30 years strong

Now in its 30th year, The Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary opens a window into a watery wonderland, teeming with amazing sea creatures of astonishing variety. Nestling amidst the pine trees on the shores of picturesque Loch Creran, the Centre combines a spectacular aquarium with a busy rescue and rehabilitation facility for both common and grey seal pups.

With breathtaking views, group rates from as little as £4.50*, discounted food & beverage deals, free leader places, free talks and feeding demonstrations throughout the day, the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary prides itself on its group offering.

Whether your group is passing through or staying locally we welcome you and invite you to share this real national treasure.

To book your group visit please call 0871 222 6941 or visit www.groupfundays.co.uk for more information.

For preferential trade rates and terms please email: debbie.fisher@merlinentertainments.biz
*to qualify for group rates, a minimum of 10 people applies. Adults: £6.50. Seniors: £5.50, Children: £4.50

Address: Barcaldine, Connel, Oban, Argyll PA37 1SE
Website: www.sealsanctuary.co.uk
Site contact: Alex Blackman, 01631 720386. alex.blackman@merlinentertainments.biz

SS Sir Walter Scott, back with style

The veteran steamship Sir Walter Scott, synonymous with Loch Katrine and The Trossachs since its launch in 1899, has returned to service on completion of a three-year restoration project.

Below decks, the ship’s original steam engine has been overhauled, whilst the passenger accommodation has been totally upgraded, with a new enclosed lounge area, fully accessible toilet accommodation, and a new servery for drinks and snacks. On the main deck all of the seating has been renewed, and a new raised area at the stern provides panoramic views of the Loch Katrine landscapes.

Completion of the project means that passengers can enjoy a really special experience - the magnificent scenery, excellent on-board amenities, and the timeless pleasure of sailing on a classic steamship.

The Sir Walter Scott operates a daily return journey to Stronachlachar (departing from Trossachs Pier at 10:30am) throughout the Summer, as well as shorter cruises during the afternoon. It sails alongside the modern cruiser ‘Lady of the Lake’, named after the epic poem by Sir Walter Scott, whose writings did so much to put The Trossachs on the map.

Each afternoon until September 2009 ‘Lady of the Lake’ also operates a special ‘MacGregor Homeland Cruise’, sailing past Factor’s Island to Glengyle, birthplace of the famous Highlander Rob Roy MacGregor.

Groups visiting Loch Katrine can take advantage of free coach parking, group discounts on all sailings, and excellent facilities at Trossachs Pier, including The Anchor’s Rest Bistro and Bar.

Further information is available from www.lochkatrine.com, or from (01877) 332000.

The Homecoming Scotland effect

When the Scotts were one of the most powerful reiving families in the Borders their call to battle could put 600 men in the saddle in less than an hour. The clash of fire and steel reverberated across the Borderland as men from all clans fought to protect hearth and home. Those days may be long gone, but as part of Homecoming 2009 the Duke of Buccleuch is putting out a call to all Border families, of all clans, families and allegiances, to attend ‘The Muster’ at Bowhill on Saturday 26th September.

This exciting event and indeed the year of Homecoming has made Bowhill staff concentrate on the roots of the Buccleuch family and how the collection is what it is today.

Bowhill houses one of the most impressive private art, furniture, silver and porcelain collections in Scotland.

The 5th Duke, Walter Francis, was responsible for much of the building and for collecting many of the breathtaking treasures. He was a passionate collector and had a great interest in miniatures and today the Buccleuch collection of miniatures is second only to the Royal collection.

The Buccleuch family name is Montagu Douglas Scott, inheritances from the various families are on display, and there are items from the Campbell’s of Argyll through an earlier marriage. A guided tour of Bowhill gives the visitor the story of the Buccleuch family and how the collection came together.

Groups can visit all year round by appointment
Contacts 0175022204, bht@buccleuch.com www.bowhill.org

Walter Francis, 5th Duke of Buccleuch by George Richmond, R.A. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Ninth Duke of Buccleuch’s Chattels Fund

Glasgow for Groups

Glasgow is an interesting and exciting city with much to offer visitors with exceptional shopping, restaurants, nightlife and it is also an ideal base for visiting some of the most stunning countryside in Britain.

Strathclyde University’s Campus Village is situated on an attractively landscaped site within walking distance of the city centre. 600 bedrooms are available from June to September, including 300 with en suite facilities, all built around the Lord Todd Restaurant and bar. Bed and Breakfast, half and full board are all available and there are also self catering flats available for weekly lets. It has been used as a base for many groups, who like its proximity to good transport links, making day trips to Loch Lomond, the Trossachs, Edinburgh and the Ayrshire coach all possible. Sporting groups are regular users due to the campus’s location close to Strathclyde Park, an international rowing venue, and to Tollcross Swimming Pool, one of only two 50 metre pools in Scotland.

Glasgow is an important cultural centre with stunning art galleries and museums. The Burrell, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the Charles Rennie Mackintosh trail are just a few of the attractions which bring visitors to the city and Glasgow is also the home of Scottish Opera and the Scottish Ballet, shortly moving into an exciting new space at the Tramway on the south side of the city.

All of this, combined with the friendliness of the people and the accessibility of this vibrant city combine to make Glasgow an enticing location for groups.

Tel: 0141 553 4148. Fax: 0141 553 4149
rescat@strath.ac.uk www.rescat.strath.ac.uk

Come fly with us!

The Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick offers visitors a unique experience of becoming a wildlife cameraman for the day to watch amazing wildlife close up - thousands of nesting seabirds, including puffins and gannets in spring and summer and seals in winter with their fluffy white pups. Sightings of dolphins, porpoises or whales are on the increase, so you could be lucky!!

The multi award-winning five star visitor attraction is perched on the sea at North Berwick with a Discovery Centre, Gift Shop and Licensed Café for refreshments to full meals, cooked on the premises using fresh local produce. We can cater for large numbers with, for example, lunch or high teas, also offering complimentary lunch/refreshments for drivers and free off site coach parking. Dine on the deck overlooking the sea and stunning views. Full disabled and baby changing facilities. An all weather attraction, the Centre is open all year. Open all year. Easy access from the A1.

The exciting Discovery Centre features live remote control cameras with giant screens, wildlife cinema, daily fish feeding, wildlife talks and walks, events and exhibitions. Environment Zone and Migration Flyway. Kids’ Playzone and family events programme with something for everyone and children’s workshops at weekends and school holidays. New Seabird Seafari boat trips round the Bass Rock, home to 100,000 gannets and Craigleith Island to see the puffins.

North Berwick is just a short trip from the bright lights of Edinburgh, but it feels a million miles away. Stunning unspoilt coastline, blue flag beaches, dramatic panoramic landscapes, lovely individual shops, cafes and restaurants and officially the sunniest place in Scotland!

The Seabird Centre has a great website at www.seabird.org with nine live webcams and lots of information for planning your journey.

Scottish Seabird Centre
The Harbour
North Berwick
EH39 4SS

Tel: 01620 890202
Fax: 01620 890222
Email: info@seabird.org
www.seabird.org

Golf, malt whisky & hickory sticks...

Morton Golf Holidays received wonderful feedback from all clients who enjoyed a Links Golf coaching clinic from Jim Farmer who is the Captain of the British PGA and is recognised as one of the leading experts in links golf.

Our clients also enjoyed learning about Scotch Whisky in a fun and informative way whilst attending private whisky dinners hosted by Iain Stothard the world renown expert.

Iain matches a scotch malt whisky to each course of dinner which as our client Jesse Bean from California said this is a wonderful way to learn all about Scotland’s national drink.

Or why not try your hand at playing with hickory golf clubs – Dick Perkins from Boston attended a demonstration at Crail Golfing Society which was run by Head Professional and golf historian, Graeme Lennie – Dick and his group thought this was an extremely interesting way to learn more about the heritage of the game we all love so much.

Add all of these activities to the expert itineraries put together by Morton Golf Holidays owner Peter Craigon and you have a winning formula for your trip to the Home of Golf.

Peter has played over 250 of Scotland’s wonderful golf courses and would be delighted to share his experiences to help you and your groups enjoy the golfing experience of a lifetime by coming on a Morton Golf Holidays trip to Scotland. Contact Peter today on 00 44 1577 866716 or email : info@mortongolf.com or visit the website at www.mortongolf.com

Thursday, 30 April 2009

The National Trust for Scotland holds 2009 Travel Trade prices for 2010

2010 PRICES FIXED AT 2009 RATES

The National Trust for Scotland has just announced that it is holding its advertised 2009 travel trade prices until 31 December 2010.

This means that the Trust’s already excellent value-for-money Group Rates and flexible, multi-day Discover Tickets and are now even more attractive, saving coach and tour operators, and their clients, up to 78%* on standard admission prices.

Their new 3-, 7- and 14-day Discover Tickets also offer greater opportunities to visit more National Trust for Scotland properties than ever before. With the addition of Burns National Heritage Park this means even better value-for-money at no extra cost!

Discover Tickets:

  • attract a 20% commission on all sales
  • are sold exclusively to the travel trade
  • are issued on a sale or return basis
  • allow unrestricted access to all National Trust for Scotland attractions
  • retail from £20.00 per person
  • 3-day tickets are valid 3 days out of 7 consecutive days
  • 7-day tickets are valid 7 days out of 14 consecutive days
  • 14-day tickets are valid 14 days out of 30 consecutive days

The National Trust for Scotland offers a wealth of 4 star and 5 star visitor attractions including world-famous gardens, battlefields, industrial heritage, castles, palaces, mansionhouses, collections and interiors. Many venues also offer excellent coach parking, catering facilities and exclusive gift shops.

For all bookings and enquiries, email the National Trust for Scotland at traveltrade@nts.org.uk, telephone 0844 493 2104 (+44 131 243 9304 from outside the UK), or visit www.nts.org.uk/TravelTrade

* 78% saving based on 14-day adult Discover Ticket.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Drop dead at Edinburgh Dungeon this Easter!

Feel the adrenaline pump and your heart pound as

Edinburgh Dungeon unveils the city’s first ever drop ride:

Extremis: Drop Ride to Doom.




Totally new for Easter 2009: Extremis Drop Ride to Doom
  • Adrenaline charged last drop in the dark
  • Ride drops 3 stories in 1 second flat
  • Based on Edinburgh City’s grisly Grassmarket hangings of the 17th and 18th centuries.
PLUS a whole attraction bringing history’s most horrible bits to life

AND a scary boat ride:
  • Splashingly scary water tunnel through cannibal Sawney Bean’s territory

EXTREMIS: DROP RIDE TO DOOM opens April 2009

Tickets: £14.95 for adults, £13.95 concessions, £10.95 for children

Advance bookings online at www.thedungeons.com

Open 7 days a week:

15th Jan -24th Feb: 11:00am-4:00pm Mon-Fri, 10:30am-4:30pm Sat & Sun.

25th Feb -14th Mar: 11:00am-4:00pm Mon-Fri 10:30am-4:30pm Sat & Sun

15th Mar - 20th Apr: 10:00am-5:00pm every day

Nearest rail: Waverley Bridge, Old Town, Edinburgh, 0845 711 4141 -

Visit www.thedungeons.com or call the Edinburgh Dungeon on: 0131 240 1001 for further information.

Edinburgh Dungeon has never shown mercy for those who dare breach its threshold, and this Easter is no exception as the Dungeon launches the likes of which the city has never seen before: the adrenaline charged Extremis: Drop Ride to Doom.

Based on the ghastly historic hangings that took place at Edinburgh’s Grassmarket during the 17th and 18th centuries, the three story ride will plunge visitors into oblivion within a second flat – in pitch darkness.

General Manager Iain Scouller says: “Edinburgh has never seen the likes of Extremis before. This is the first drop ride to be built the city – and what an introduction.

Extremis actually means ‘at the very point of death in Latin’ and trust me there’s no better name for this ride - plummeting down that fast in the dark leaves your stomach above your head, your heart pounding and your blood buzzing long after you’ve braved the drop.

I can’t wait to see our visitors up there. Quite simply, if you can survive Extremis you can survive anything” he promises.

The installation of the ride has meant major building works for the Dungeon this January and February: “We have had to move walls and even remove floors to make way for the ride” Scouller explains.

With the Edinburgh Dungeon already host to a damp, chilling boat ride, the installation of Extremis signifies a major investment into the Dungeon, which now boasts two rides as part of its fearsome dark tour of Edinburgh’s darkest, most horrible history.

The investment sees the Edinburgh landmark cement its place as one of the most ambitious tourist attractions in the Scottish capital.

Horrible hangings are very much in keeping with the Dungeon’s other frighteningly gory shows, with featured historical figures such as Scottish Hero William Wallace and Cannibal Sawney Bean meeting notorious deaths at the neck of a noose.

Extremis will provide a perfectly horrific addition to the actor led shows and interactive features the Dungeon is infamous for.

Travel trade offer to Southern Scotland’s treasures

The National Trust for ScotlandScotland’s leading conservation charity – and Dumfries House have joined forces to offer the Travel Trade an exclusive entry deal to some of Southern Scotland’s most stunning historic attractions.

For a limited period the National Trust for Scotland, in partnership with Dumfries House, is giving tour and coach operators the chance to visit its glorious Threave Garden and beautiful Broughton House, as well as the magnificent Dumfries House, for just £19.50 per person – a saving of £6.50 per person on individual admission prices.

This offer is only available to the Travel Trade through the National Trust for Scotland’s One-Stop-Shop booking service.

Pietro Cecchini, National Travel Trade Manager at the National Trust for Scotland, said:

‘With more people planning to holiday at home this year, there has never been a better opportunity to showcase Scotland’s treasures. By joining up with Dumfries House, we are helping coach and tour operators offer their clients the chance to enjoy the best of Scotland at the best possible price.’

Mike Schafer, Chief Executive of Dumfries House, added:

‘As well as being of great international, historical and cultural significance, Threave Garden, Broughton House and Dumfries House are simply wonderful properties to visit.’

These three properties are some of Southern Scotland’s most popular attractions, offering a great variety of experiences for visitors. The National Trust for Scotland’s internationally acclaimed Threave Garden in Castle Douglas is a gardener’s dream, boasting impressive formal gardens and wonderful woodland walks.

The charity’s beautifully restored Broughton House in Kirkcudbright, former home to the world-famous Scottish artist and ‘Glasgow Boy’ E A Hornel, offers a fascinating insight into the life of the artist, as well as showcasing many of his masterpieces.

Dumfries House, near Cumnock in Ayrshire, is cared for by The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust. Its stunning interiors are home to a world-class collection of furniture by Thomas Chippendale and many late 18th-century Scottish cabinet makers, as recently featured on BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow.

Flexible packages are also available combining Dumfries House with a variety of other National Trust for Scotland attractions, including Culzean Castle and Burns National Heritage Park in Ayrshire; Pollok House, 3 miles from Glasgow city centre; and The Georgian House, in the heart of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site.

For all bookings and enquiries email the National Trust for Scotland at traveltrade@nts.org.uk or telephone 0844 493 2104.

Monday, 5 January 2009

welcome back to Scotland

Homecoming Scotland 2009 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet and cultural icon Robert Burns, whose message of friendship epitomised through the song ‘Auld Lang Syne’ lives on.
Burns is the inspiration behind our year long celebration of some of Scotland’s great contributions to the world:
  • Golf
  • Whisky
  • Great Scottish Minds and Innovation
  • Robert Burns
  • and our rich culture and heritage.
For the millions around the world with Scots ancestry and everyone with a passion for our great nation, 2009 will be an exceptional year to visit Scotland.
As part of its Homecoming Scotland marketing activity, VisitScotland has co-ordinated the most comprehensive connection with Scotland’s diaspora to date. This year’s Burns Night campaign has the potential to reach over 200,000 ex-pat Scots and people with Scottish ancestry around the world, who will all receive a message from First Minister Alex Salmond, encouraging them to come to Scotland in 2009.
As well as reaching the officials of around 1,600 Scottish organisations world wide, VisitScotland and EventScotland have enlisted the help of the International Burns Federation, Global Friends of Scotland and Global Scots to encourage their members to start planning their travel to Scotland in 2009.
VisitScotland’s marketing campaign for Homecoming Scotland 2009 will, over the next 18 months, reach out to both the diaspora and the best tourism prospects in the UK and overseas, encouraging them to join Scotland’s year long celebration.
Homecoming Scotland 2009 is a Scottish Government initiative delivered by EventScotland, the national events agency, in partnership with VisitScotland.
The programme of Homecoming events will complement the vast range of world-class attractions already offered in Scotland. From the world’s biggest ever Clan Gathering in Edinburgh to Celtic Connections in Glasgow and from the Open Championship at Turnberry to the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, there will be something special for everyone.

Thistle award winning tours for homecomimg 2009

The celebration of Burns’ 250th anniversary during Homecoming Year 2009 coincides with Rabbie’s Trail Burners launching its most exciting programme of tours ever. Your clients can discover their family history with a range of Clan tours departing Edinburgh during 2009 - Macdonalds, Campbells, Robertsons, MacGregors, McLeods and Camerons are amongst those scheduled to run, although we can organise private group tours for any clan.
We are also offering specialist tours for Whisky enthusiasts, allowing groups to experience the fantastic produce of Islay, home to 8 of Scotland’s finest malt whisky distilleries. For the whisky connoisseur these tours are ideal as there is no need for clients to drive themselves anywhere!
Rabbie’s mini-coaches are purpose built to show your clients the secrets of Scotland by getting off the beaten track and onto the back-roads where only smaller tours can go. Comfort is paramount as we travel in eco-friendly, low emission, modern Mercedes mini-coaches, with big panoramic windows (3 out of 4 seats are window seats so you can really enjoy the views), full sized reclining seats (with seatbelts) and more legroom than your average coach. We can also arrange coaches for larger groups wishing to explore the beauty of Scotland.
Rabbie’s is extremely proud to have won the highly sought after 2008 Thistle Award for People Development and has won many other awards over the years for its outstanding commitment to going the extra mile for its customers and providing exceptional small group experiences.
To find out more please telephone +44 (0)131 226 3133. or visit www.rabbies.com

one of the best for homecoming

As the number one wholesale tour operator into Scotland, JAC Travel Scotland is a one-stop shop delivering a wide range of group travel services. With the buying power to offer the most competitive rates linked with a creative team of experts, JAC Travel Scotland guarantees to deliver complete customer satisfaction.
What better time to visit Scotland than 2009 to join in the year long celebrations of Homecoming Scotland which marks the 250th anniversary of the great poet Robert Burns’ birth, plus some of Scotland’s great contributions to the world: golf, whisky, the Enlightenment and innovation, culture and heritage.
JAC Travel Scotland is offering an exciting range of event packages including the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2009; The Open Golf Championship, returning to the Ailsa Course at the Westin Turnberry resort, and The Braemar Gathering, one of the most famous Highland games. Packages include accommodation at 3 and 4 star hotels plus event tickets and transfers. We are also offering 3 and 4 night packages to ‘Piping Live’, featuring the World Pipe Band Championships and ‘Burns an’ a’ that’, a festival celebrating the life and works of the Robert Burns.
For those interested in Scottish ancestry, follow in the footsteps of some of Scotland’s great clans and rub shoulders with real-life clan chiefs at the world’s biggest ever Clan Gathering in Edinburgh. Whatever you choose, JAC Travel Scotland promises to bring you the very best throughout this year of Homecoming.
To discuss your requirements please contact: JAC Travel Scotland, telephone +44 131 556 4500 or
email enquiries@jacscotland.com or visit
www.jacscotland.com or www.jaconline.com

so near to Edinburgh

Edinburgh Conference Centre, centrally located at Heriot Watt University, the Centre welcomes visitors throughout the year, offering good-value accommodation - 165 bedrooms are available during the academic terms, all with en-suite facilities, telephone, clock radio and coffee/tea-making facilities, with a minimum, VisitScotland 2-star campus classification.
Completed in summer 08 an improvement plan, has seen the refurbishment of 18 double en-suite bedrooms. Completely refitted, everything in the bedrooms has been replaced from the flooring to soft furnishings and the lighting.
An additional 795 modern, en suite guest rooms are available in vacation periods, from June to early September - these are serviced daily. Internet access is available in all guest bedrooms across the university campus.
Set in a peaceful, parkland location, the Edinburgh Conference Centre is just six miles west of Edinburgh and its many city-centre attractions; 10 minutes’ drive from Edinburgh Airport; central to Scotland’s motorway network; and four hours by train from London. One major benefit for visitors is the free car parking facilities on site.
A multitude of excellent onsite facilities are on offer from 3 catering outlets and café bar to bank; hairdressers; medical centre; crèche; laundry; general store; sports and exercise centre; and beautiful, tranquil gardens in which to relax.
For 2009, applicable 25 June to 04 September, Bed and Breakfast group rates – based on 10 or more rooms - are: single room £34.00 per night and double room £58.00 including full Scottish Breakfast and VAT.
For group information telephone: 0131 451 3115
or email: info@edinburgh-conference.com

2 great hotels 1 stunning location

Two Great Hotels...one stunning setting!
The Inn at Inverbeg and Lodge on Loch Lomond Hotel are stunningly located venues with views across Scotland’s most famous Loch towards Ben Lomond.
The Inn at Inverbeg has undergone a multi-million pound redesign so offering groups and travel trade a fantastic new venue to consider when planning trips in the Loch Lomond area. The Inn is set back on the A82 and the Hotel is also just off this main route to Crianlarich. Both are close to the conservation village of Luss so ideal as overnight stays for groups travelling the West Coast of Scotland or as meal stops en-route.
Choose from the contemporary rooms within the main Inn or the beautifully located beach house situated directly on the shores of the Loch. With a history of over 200 years, the Inn retains all the charm of an auld Scottish Inn but with facilities attractive to the modern-day traveller. Ideal for group parties is Mr.C’s Fish and Whisky Bar/Restaurant within the Inn, offering traditional fish and chips, fresh seafood and Buccleuch steaks and burgers. A member of the Scottish Whisky Embassy the Inn stocks over 200 whiskies and some of the best real ale you can find. Excellent value for quality food and surroundings, plus relax to Scottish Folk music on weekends, April through to October.
The Lodge on Loch Lomond Hotel offers guests first class accommodation and a great 2 AA rosette restaurant. It provides excellent accommodation and meals for group bookings.
For further details call 01436 860 201
or email events@loch-lomond.co.uk. or visit
www.inverbeginn.co.uk or www.loch-lomond.co.uk


a new welcome

A new welcome for a national landmark. New visitor facilities at world-famous monument, set for spring 2009 opening
The visitor experience at one of Stirling’s most distinctive landmarks - The National Wallace Monument - will be enhanced next year following the redevelopment of the area at the base of The Abbey Craig, the main point of arrival for visitors coming to see the famous tower.
The new development has been designed to significantly upgrade visitor facilities at The Monument, and involves the construction of a striking new reception building, with a self-service restaurant and terrace providing panoramic views of The Abbey Craig and The Monument itself, and a re-configuration of the Visitor Pavilion, which houses a ticket sales desk and retail area. The layout at the Car Park area is also being improved to ensure that adequate space is provided for all visitors.
Ken Thomson of Stirling District Tourism stressed the benefits of the project for groups arriving at The National Wallace Monument. “The Monument is a major visitor attraction - not only for Stirling but for all of Scotland, and the first impression that visitors gain on arrival is really important. This project will ensure that the entire experience for visitors lives up to their expectations, and gets their visit off to the best possible start”, he said.
The project is scheduled to be completed early next year, in readiness for the start of the main 2009 visitor season.
For further information Tel 01786 472140
or email: info@nationalwallacemonument.com
or visit www.nationalwallacemonument.com

full steam ahead

Full steam ahead for the Museum Of Scottish Industrial Life. Summerlee, now open to groups following a two year refurbishment.
After two years and an investment of £10 million, Summerlee - the Museum of Scottish Industrial Life - in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, reopened its gates to the public this autumn. Tour groups can once again experience life as it was during Scotland’s industrial revolution and into the early part of the 20th Century, especially as admission remains free.
Summerlee’s old favourites, such as the tram rides (small fee charged), trips down the mine, the miners’ cottages and the playpark have been improved and upgraded. However, it is the main exhibition hall that the main changes have taken place, with a whole new experience being created within.
On entering the hall the first thing visitors will see is the sheer scale of the new displays. Working machinery have always been an attraction at Summerlee – nicknamed ‘Scotland’s noisiest museum’. Now there is an enlarged display including the huge winding wheel from the former Cardowan Colliery at Stepps, one of the last railway engines to made in Airdrie and and even a ‘vitual reality’ blast furnace.
Summerlee has a large coach park just adjacent to the main entrance, plus all the facilities associated with a VisitScotland four-star graded attraction. These include a brand new café and shop. The size of Summerlee means tour groups can be accommodated without difficulty, but if planning a visit on local holiday Mondays, it is advisable to advise the office in advance on:
(01236) 638460 or e-mail museums@northlan.gov.uk

hard rock goes local

The Hard Rock Cafe in Edinburgh – Scotland’s only Hard Rock Cafe - is reaching out to tour and travel groups looking for a more ‘Scottish’ experience by adding locally sourced regional dishes including Cullen Skink, Venison in a Whisky Glaze, Hot Smoked Salmon Salad and Crannachan to the menu.
A special group menu has been created to include these dishes and has already proved extremely popular with tour and travel companies now including a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe Edinburgh in their itineraries for 2009. The launch of the new Scottish dishes also coincides with Homecoming 2009, a year long celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.
The regular Group menus which include favourites such as the Legendary Burger, New York Strip Steak and Honey Citrus Salad are also now available for 2009 with prices remaining the same as 2008.
To request a menu or for further details please contact Lindsay McCarroll on 0131 260 3000
or email lindsay_mccarroll@hardrock.com
or visit www.hardrock.com/edinburgh